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Article | January 16, 2013
KUKA Robotics Corporation: Mixed palletizing cell
Designed for retail, food, and beverage distribution, Kuka, in collaboration with RSW, has designed the Mixed Case Row Palletizing (MXRP) to streamline the building of pallets with mixed products and/or packaging at distribution centers to deliver efficiency gains of 40% or more in building same-store pallets.
RSW’s adjustable-finger gripper and KUKA Systems’ robotics and control system are combined in the MXRP: four adjustable fingers, or forks, can stack up to four cases at a time with great accuracy. The MXRP cell with its single robot can handle up to 1,400 cases/hour, depending on package type and size. Conventional cells are said to employ two robots and yet still can only manage 1,000 cases/hour at most.
The unique MXRP gripper with Flex Strap technology makes it possible to position adjustable fingers at different levels to grip stock and load it on top of uneven layers. Responding to the geometry of each layer, the MXRP cell’s control system can adjust each finger independently, horizontally or vertically, and move forks left or right for optimal spacing. While the gripper can accommodate up to six forks (and load up to six cases at a time if so equipped), four-fork installations will suit most situations.
By switching to MXRP, warehouse operators save on capital and operating expenses, and save significant space. MXRP also produces a denser, more store-friendly mixed pallet. Often, store pallets are wheeled right off the truck into store aisles for overnight re-shelving. Fewer but denser pallets means faster unloading and positioning, and fewer obstacles in the aisles for late-night shoppers.
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